Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pasco unveils loan program for tax-burdened seniors

Community Development Manager George Romagnoli estimates that the Tax Payment Program could avert foreclosure for 150 to 200 senior citizens in Pasco County per year.

Associated Press (2009)

Community Development Manager George Romagnoli estimates that the Tax Payment Program could avert foreclosure for 150 to 200 senior citizens in Pasco County per year.

DADE CITY — The county's community development office on Tuesday rolled out a new interest-free loan program aimed at helping low-income seniors burdened by big tax bills.

The program, which is intended to curb foreclosures from delinquent taxes, is funded by a $300,000 state housing grant. It's aimed at low-income folks 62 and older and homeowners with disabilities who are behind in property taxes or about to fall behind.

"We don't want anybody to have to lose their home," community development manager George Romagnoli said during a two-hour workshop with Pasco commissioners.

The program will provide up to $5,000, and the loan can be deferred for 10 years with no interest or penalties.

Applicants must live in a homesteaded house, condominium or mobile home and meet certain income requirements to qualify. Individuals can't earn more than $19,900 a year. For couples, the cutoff is $22,750.

Romagnoli said it's hard to gauge how many people will benefit, but he estimated the program could help 150 to 200 people a year.

"We're talking about a lot of people and their income has become static and they can't afford the property taxes. They paid off their mortgage and they're on a fixed income and they've fallen behind," he said.

Tax Collector Mike Fasano applauded the effort, simply called the Tax Payment Program, and promised to promote it at his office.

He said he occasionally hears from seniors looking for help and refers them to Romagnoli.

Fasano said he isn't sure how many seniors or disabled individuals lose their homes each year due to tax foreclosures. After a property owner becomes delinquent, a tax certificate is issued and sold to an investor. After three years, the investor can apply for a tax deed and the property can be sold at auction.

Fasano said his office frequently works with seniors, and others, to help them get caught up and offers discounted payment plans. Most seniors have annual tax bills ranging from $700 to $800, he said.

"It's a wonderful program. I'm so pleased," Fasano said of the county program. "Since I've been in Pasco I've taken a couple of calls from seniors who have very low, limited incomes and they just don't have the money to pay their taxes."

In other business, Romagnoli proposed changes to the Pasco Opportunity Program, which purchases, renovates and sells houses to low- to moderate-income families.

Under the changes, a $10,000 down-payment assistance program for government workers — teachers, police and firefighters — would be eliminated and the amount available to low- to moderate-income home buyers would be reduced to $5,000 from $20,000.

Romagnoli said the changes will stretch the office's funding so it can reach more people. County commissioners haven't yet approved the changes, though. They'll take up the issue in March or April.

Rich Shopes can be reached at rshopes@tampabay.com or (772) 869-6236.

. Fast facts

To learn more

To apply or learn more about the Tax Payment Program, call the Community Development Office at (727) 834-3445 in west Pasco; (352) 521-4274, ext. 3445, in east Pasco; or (813) 996-7341, ext. 3445, in Land O'Lakes.

Pasco unveils loan program for tax-burdened seniors 01/21/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 7:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Car bomb kills 13, injures 24 in Baghdad; Islamic State claims responsibility

    World

    BAGHDAD — A car bomb exploded outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad just after midnight today, killing 13 people and wounding 24, hospital and police officials said.

  2. Leaping shark floors angler in Australia

    World

    In The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway's protagonist battles for three days to pull in his prized catch. For Terry Selwood, it came a little more suddenly.

    A 9-foot shark lies on the deck of a fishing boat at Evans Head, Australia on Sunday. Fisherman Terry Selwood said he was left with a badly bruised and bleeding right arm where the shark struck him with a fin as it landed on him on the deck. [Lance Fountain via AP]
  3. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  4. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber

    World

    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  5. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant

    Nation

    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]